Two Ramadan Problems
The previous post told facts about Ramadan, the Muslim holy month when Muslim adults and older children fast from food and drink from sunrise to sunset.
Problem: When is Sunset?
Ashraf El Dakrouri, the first Egyptian explorer to go to Antarctica, is a Muslim. He wanted to fast until sunset during Ramadan, like other Muslims. But the sun never set at that time of the year in Antarctica! Muslim leaders decided that he could eat when the sun set in New Zealand.
Problem: Which Way Is Mecca?
Dr. Sheik Muszaphar Shukar, Malaysia’s first astronaut, was also the first Muslim to travel in space during Ramadan. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. But in an orbiting spaceship, the sun rises and sets many times a day. Though Muslims are not required to fast while traveling, Dr. Shukar wanted to try it. Muslims must also pray memorized prayers five times a day while facing Mecca, Saudi Arabia. But what direction should an astronaut face in space? A group of Muslim leaders made new rules for prayer and fasting in space before Dr. Shukar blasted off.
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